Guest Post – Not So Bleak Winter

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Some Christmas surprises change everything.

Getting ready for a quiet Christmas as the vet on call, Rick got the surprise of a lifetime when a gorgeous woman appeared in his office with a bleeding deer in her arms. Not only is he able to learn about a world that he never knew existed, but maybe he is about to experience a Christmas miracle of his very own.


Price:  .99 cents


With only five minutes until closing, he was in back cleaning when he heard the bell on the door ring. A frantic feminine voice called out, “Is someone here? I need help! Help!”

Rushing out, Rick saw the woman cradling a small deer in her arms as she sat on the floor. In just a few moments, a pool of blood had already formed and started to spread on the stark white tiles. For a moment, he wondered at how such a small woman could have carried a deer inside without help, but then he figured panic could cause endorphins to kick in. “What has happened? Was it hit by a car?” Rick knelt down to examine the animal.

“No, she was shot. Some bastard shot her, even though it’s way past hunting season. Plus, she was on my land to begin with,” the woman said, tears streaming down her face even as anger entered her voice.

Changing his approach to search for a gunshot, Rick got the shock of a lifetime when the deer seemed to yell, “Ouch!”

He had touched the wound and was checking for an exit wound when he stopped shocked. Then he shook his head; he must be hearing things. Getting back to work, he gently felt beneath the poor animal, and there he found the exit hole. “The bullet passed through. That’s good news. If I can get the bleeding stopped, then I can stitch her up, and she should be fine. I need to get her back to the operating room. I can handle it from here.” He picked the deer up and stood.

“I’m staying while you operate. I need to know that she will be fine,” the woman said, also standing and moving with him. “Besides, are you alone here? I can help. Just tell me what to do, and I will assist you as best I can.”

“Do you have any sort of medical training?” Rick started to argue, but then the deer in his arms turned its head towards him, and he almost dropped her. “What the hell?” he asked. The deer stared back at him with human eyes and a pained expression on an almost human face, but with the face of a deer mixed with it. “What kind of creature is this?” Despite his shock and confusion, he automatically kept walking towards the operating room. Whatever he held in his arms, he had to help the poor thing.

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5 Ways By The Fire Surprised Me.

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I thought it would be fun to share five ways By The Fire surprised me.

1. The hilarious family interactions.

2. Ridge’s sense of humor.

3. Food. So much food. All the food.

4. Kaito’s ex, what a wanker.

5. The ending. It wasn’t the ending I anticipated, but I loved it.



Silent Night

It’s always fun to share music playlists.

I wrote By The Fire in July. I don’t recommend writing a holiday-themed book in the summer. It’s a real pain.

So, here’s the music I listened to all through the summer.

  1. Both of Pentatonix’s holiday albums.
  2. Sarah McLachlan’s Wintersong album
  3. Michael Brech’s holiday album
  4. Victorian Christmas by Heavenly Angelic Light Orchestra
  5. An English Christmas Cheer in Song and Carols


Book Review: Not Even a Mouse

Not Even A Mouse (2)I loved every page. I’ve seldom read a short story that filled out it’s characters, gave me their history, gave me a few days in their lives that I treasured and left me with no questions about what now for their future.” 5 Stars from Foothills of the Cascades



By The Fire is set in Aspen, Colorado.

I thought I’d share ten fun things to do in Aspen in December.

1. Ski. Obviously.

2. Take a sleigh ride.

3. Enjoy the festivities of Aspen’s 12 Days of Christmas celebration.

4. Have a burger at The White House Tavern.

5. Check out the John Denver Sanctuary.

6. Enjoy the view from the Silver Queen Gondola ride.

7. Snowshoe through some of the trails.

8. Visit the Wheeler Opera House.

9. See the exhibits at the Aspen Art Museum.

10. Have a drink at the Aspen Brewing Company.



(Image by skeeze from Pixabay)

Deck The Halls.

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When I start a story, nine times out of ten, I’ve already figured out the title. Every once in a while, I end up having to change it midway through. (Forged in Flood, for example, was The Blacksmith even after I’d finished it then I had to change the title. The Misguided Confession also went through a name change midway.)

My latest holiday short story definitely fit into the one time out of ten.

It went through several different titles.

First, it was Screw You Santa Clause, but the story changed enough the title didn’t fit.

Then came a few different ideas I bounced around with my beta readers: Dim The Lights, Broken Baubles, Holiday Heartbreak. None of those fit the story that was developing. I find it really difficult to write without a title. Almost every time, I have a title beforehand.

So, three chapters into By The Fire, I just hated Broken Baubles as a holiday title. It wasn’t working. Every time I pulled up the word document, the title annoyed me so much.

So much.

I spent an entire day looking through holiday phrases, listening to songs, etc.

And then, By The Fire hit me.

It was perfect.

It said what I wanted to say. I wanted this holiday novella to be about romance and comfort. What’s more comforting than sitting beside a fireplace?

If you’re an author, do you start your story with or without a title already decided?